January 18, 2010

Watch your avatar name with Google Alerts

Everybody has "googled" their avatar name before, and the more vocal ones of us have certainly found a mentioning here and there. But did you know you can automate this process? Google Alerts is a nifty little gadget that allows you to store Google queries within the search engine itself, and get an email report (or a personalized feed) as soon as one of your searches gets a new result.

I am using Google Alerts both for my SL avatar as well as for my RL person, and it has become an essential tool for me. However the other day I read an article by metaverse consultant Ener Hax and realized that probably not everybody knows about Google Alerts. You might notice that against my usual practice I did not link to Ener's article. The reason is that Ener writes she has - just like me - set up extensive Google Alerts "so if someone mentions me, i wanna say hello back". I hope Ener Hax shows up in the comment then to prove the effectiveness :-)

As you can see from the screenshot I have set up Google Alerts for my name and the name of my businesses and the projects I am involved in. In my particular case I have also set up Alerts for the common misspellings - some people never get my name right. Basically you can set up Alerts for every valid Google query. The "link:" queries you see in the image for example fire if someone links to my blog.

Admittedly I have edited the screenshot. I have also set up Alerts for my avatar name in conjunction with my real name - I want to know right away should they ever appear in the same context. I have also set up Alerts for my competitors so I can keep an eye on them.

I hope this helps you keep a better eye on your online persona - and of course these things apply to your RL identity too.
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